Understanding 'appreciation'

Understanding 'appreciation'

by Headspace_HQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:40 pm


I'm having difficulty understanding what is meant by 'appreciation' and also asking the question, 'who or what would I most miss of I wasn't around?'. I have a problem with the question as I wouldn't be around to ask it. So it's difficult for me to visualise.

Also what is meant by appreciation? Gratitude? Happy times, great moments, those moments of joy?

Andy's Answer:

Like most things, the more we think about them the more complicated they appear. I suspect you have quite probably already experienced appreciation many times in your life. It is not easy to define in words because it is a feeling and not something conceptual. But yes, if we had to compare it to another word, then gratitude is probably the closest.

We might get a glimmer of it when someone brings us an unexpected cup of tea in the morning, or someone let's us out into the traffic when we've been sitting waiting at a junction for a long time. Or it might be a much deeper and more obvious feeling of gratitude when someone gives us a hug or we simply pause to appreciate the wonder of life. Appreciation is there all the time, but we are usually too focused on the past and the future to really enjoy it as a sustained feeling.

Funnily enough, although we might associate the feeling of appreciation with all those moments you suggest, when we experience it in this exercise, it can sometimes be very vague and difficult to associate with any particular situation. Either that, or it can appear to be related to something really abstract. Sometimes there may not be any sense of appreciation at all and we might feel anger instead. All of these are quite normal responses, so don't worry too much about what thought arrises and instead just notice the feeling when you ask the question.

As for the second part of your question, you'll be pleased to know that this is quite common too. Yes, there is the intellectual argument that if we were no longer here then we would not miss anything. But this is very conceptual. Ask someone who has just a few days left to live what they will miss the most and I suspect the answer would be very different and also feel a lot more real. This is the mind-set we are looking to move towards, moving beyond conceptual thought and towards intuitive feeling. I hope that's helpful.
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